Frederick Norman HATCHER was Private 7761 in the 12th Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment. He died on the 21st March 1918, aged 27 and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial. He was the second of the ten sons of Edgar and Rosina Hatcher of Long Row, The Street, Hacheston serving the King to be killed. The Arras Memorial is in the Faubourg-d'Amiens Cemetery, which is in the Boulevard du General de Gaulle in the western part of the town of Arras. The cemetery is near the Citadel, approximately 2 kms due west of the railway station.
Frederick was the seventh-born son of Edgar and Rosina Hatcher, and was a professional soldier pre-war as were several of his brothers. He had enlisted in the 1st Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment and the 1911 Census shows him serving in Egypt with them, aged 20.
With the outbreak of the First World War, Frederick had enlisted at Framlingham as Private 7761 in the 12th Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment which left for France on the 16th of January 1915. As an experienced soldier, he took part in battles in the front line in Loos and later in the Battle of Ancre on the Somme. In 1917 he saw action during the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, the capture of Fifteen Ravine, Villers Plouich, Beauchamp and La Vacquerie, and the Cambrai operations including the capture of Bourlon Wood. The 12th Battalion fought in 1918 at St. Quentin and Bapaume on the Somme. With the Battle of Hazebrouck in Flanders the Battalion suffered many casualties. Frederick was killed in action during the great German offensive of 21st March 1918, when thousands of prisoners of war were taken and there were many casualties including Frederick.
For Frederick's years in France and Flanders, Mr and Mrs Hatcher would subsequently have received the 1914-15 Star, the Victory and the British War medals, together with his gratuity, which was left to his mother.
Grateful thanks are extended to Mrs Evelyn Empson of Framlingham for supplying much of the above information on Frederick.
Historical Information on the Faubourg-d'Amiens Cemetery
The French handed over Arras to Commonwealth forces in the spring of 1916 and the system of tunnels upon which the town is built were used and developed in preparation for the major offensive planned for April 1917.
The Commonwealth section of the FAUBOURG D'AMIENS CEMETERY was begun in March 1916, behind the French military cemetery established earlier. It continued to be used by field ambulances and fighting units until November 1918. The cemetery was enlarged after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the battlefields and from two smaller cemeteries in the vicinity.
The cemetery contains over 2,650 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 10 of which are unidentified. The graves in the French military cemetery were removed after the war to other burial grounds and the land they had occupied was used for the construction of the Arras Memorial and Arras Flying Services Memorial.
The adjacent ARRAS MEMORIAL commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918, the eve of the Advance to Victory, and have no known grave. The most conspicuous events of this period were the Arras offensive of April-May 1917, and the German attack in the spring of 1918. Canadian and Australian servicemen killed in these operations are commemorated by memorials at Vimy and Villers-Bretonneux. A separate memorial remembers those killed in the Battle of Cambrai in 1917.
The following is a link to Frederick's page on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website from where you can download Frederick's Commemorative Certificate.
David and Eileen Clough